Trump and the state of emergency: is it really urgent?

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President Trump could declare a state of emergency in the United States to force the construction of his wall on the border with Mexico. This option seems, in his eyes, one of the only ways out to resolve the crisis. The US government has been partially paralyzed for 22 days. A record since 1995!

This is the impasse, even the war, between the White House and the Democrats. They refuse to give Donald Trump the $5.7 billion needed to build a portion of the metal barrier (this is the new wall model that Trump favors), whose total cost is estimated at more than 20 billion.

The president suggests that he does not really have the choice to use the means to meet his campaign promise in 2016.

The introduction of the state of emergency is an immense power held by the President of the United States. This allows it to intervene in case of crisis or threat that requires immediate response. But is there a crisis right now at the southern border of the United States? Republicans answer yes and Democrats think no.

The Washington Post says the situation at the border is a huge logistical challenge. The immigration laws, the newspaper adds, no longer meet the humanitarian and security needs.

But the situation is far from a threat to the country and require the implementation of emergency measures, concludes the Post. In addition, the number of arrests at border crossings in the south has dropped by two-thirds since George W. Bush’s presidency in the 2000s.

The president says, on the contrary, that drugs, weapons and criminals are illegally crossing the border at an alarming and unprecedented rate. Last June, Donald Trump said that 63,000 people have been killed by illegal immigrants since 2001. A figure difficult to verify, according to the site verification of facts Politifact.

The leader of the White House seems to want to act to calm his supporters who have been waiting for this wall for too long. Not to mention that the commentators of the American right, such as Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh, get impatient and spread the rumor that the famous wall could never see the day. A heresy among “trumpists”.

Possible Expanded Powers That Worry

The use of emergency measures would give Trump some 136 different powers, which he could exercise at any time. The idea that the president has so many prerogatives raises concern in the United States.

Among other things, he will have the right to seize property and bank accounts, to adopt martial law, to restrict travel, to intercept communications or even to take control of the Internet. The Atlantic publication argues that this concentration of power in the hands of the president who praised so many dictators could become a dangerous arsenal.

But in this case, the allocation of $5.7 billion to the Department of Defense, as Donald Trump wants to fund the construction of the wall, is a prerogative of Congress. Never in the history of the United States has a president invoked emergency measures to use money that Congress refused him. In any case, if the tenant of the White House insisted on imposing his choice, he would have to contend with legal challenges.

Friday, afternoon, President Trump repeated that he was not yet ready to use extreme means to achieve his ends. But until when will Donald Trump have the patience to wait?

The political costs of not building the wall are high and the price of imposing it by force is too high. The master of the negotiation, that is said to be the current president, has a whole scenario in front of him. The art of negotiating this way out of the crisis will be decisive for the rest of his presidency.

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Marcus Clinker

Marcus Clinker

Marcus is a reporter on the Political Capital team focusing on money in politics. Before joining Daily Telescope, he worked as a researcher and writer for the Institute for Northern Studies at Ohio State University and as a freelance journalist in Portalnd, having been published by over 20 outlets including NPR, the Center for Media and Democracy,The Huffington Post, Salon, Truthout and VICE.com.
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